Charges change in CSC student assault caseBy Brent Curtis
STAFF WRITER | February 08,2013Rutland County prosecutors have dropped a felony assault charge against one Castleton State College student and charged another in connection with a pair of assaults that injured two other students last month.
State’s Attorney Marc Brierre on Thursday dismissed a felony charge of aggravated assault brought against Douglas D. Krouse Jr. The 21-year-old guard on the Spartans men’s basketball team pleaded innocent to the felony charge on Monday along with a misdemeanor charge of simple assault that has not been dismissed.
“We are proceeding with the simple assault based on the evidence in the case,” Brierre said Thursday.
The evidence in the case changed radically this week after Castleton Police said another CSC student, Sean M. Mowry, admitted to participating in an assault against 18-year-old Nicholas Bruch near the Rail Trail on campus.
That admission came after Bruch told police he was certain that Krouse was one of his attackers.
“I am beyond 100 percent sure it was him,” Bruch was quoted as saying in a police report.
Bruch’s right eye socket was broken during an early-morning assault on Jan. 27 in which two people punched him and then kicked him when he fell to the ground, according to court records.
Christopher B. Barletta, 20, who was on the basketball team roster at the start of the season, was charged with being the other person involved in beating Bruch.
The Bryn Mawr, Pa., man pleaded innocent to a felony charge from the incident involving Bruch and a misdemeanor charge of simple assault for allegedly biting student Joshua Mannings, 19, in a dorm room during a separate incident.
Mannings was also reportedly assaulted by another man outside Haskell Hall minutes after the alleged assault by Barletta, police said. In the second assault, Mannings said he was punched in the face by Krouse — an allegation that led to the simple assault charge that remains pending.
Castleton Police Officer Steve Dechen said in an affidavit that police were led to change their mind about Krouse’s involvement in the assault against Bruch after two students reported that Barletta had told them that he and Mowry were involved in the beating near the Rail Trail.
In a subsequent interview with police, Mowry allegedly confessed to assaulting Bruch but he said he had no part in assaulting Manning.
Brierre said sufficient evidence exists to prosecute the misdemeanor charge against Krouse, but the CSC sophomore’s defense attorney said he was appalled that all charges weren’t dropped.
“It’s equally tainted. I can’t believe they’re going forward,” said Rutland attorney Matthew Branchaud. “We’re very disappointed with the decision to prosecute.”
While a criminal case against Krouse persists, a CSC spokesman said Thursday the college has allowed him to return to campus.
“It is now apparent to the college that Mr. Krouse was unfairly accused of the crime, and he will resume all activities at the college,” said CSC spokesman Jeff Weld.
The college continues to ban Barletta from the campus, Weld said, and has banned Mowry from the college pending a hearing.
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